How Many KPIs Does It Take for World Class Customer Support? MetricNet Says 8!

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If you do not measure the performance of your agents, I hope knowing all you need is eight will make you start. Otherwise, your support desk may actually be the cost center the C-Suite already thinks it is. If you don’t measure anything, how will you prove otherwise?

If you do measure the performance of your customer support agents, I hope you are using what Jeff Rumburg at MetricNet recommends. If you are using more KPIs than MetricNet recommends, I hope you find out:

•    Why you are using so many
•    Which, if any, of the following KPIs you use
•    Where your list and Rumburg’s differ

One of the biggest issues with KPIs is how each KPI incents the agents. The wrong KPI can actually cause customer satisfaction to be slashed because the incentive the KPI gives is to rush through the call, escalate to the next tier too early, or some other behavior more in line with making the numbers than making the customer happy.

And if you are measuring every KPI possible, you are likely suffering from analysis paralysis just because of the sheer volume of information you have and the time it takes to interpret what it means and what should be fixed. If you are measuring fewer, you may be missing an important piece of information for improving support.

By taking Jeff Rumburg’s advice, you should have the right information to tell you the right thing to act on, and the right numbers to support your budget needs to the C-suite.

Rumburg supplies what seems to be a three KPI approach with two or three sub-KPIs in supporting roles. He calls these foundation metrics:

  • Customer Satisfaction   
    • FCR – First Contact Resolution    
    • MTTR – Mean Time To Resolve    TS – Technician Satisfaction   
  • Cost per Ticket   
    • TU – Technician Utilization 
    • Percent Resolved Level 1 Capable (a proxy for TCO – Total Cost of Ownership)
  • Balanced Score – An overall measure of support performance

To increase customer satisfaction you need high FCR and TS with low MTTR. To decrease cost per ticket you need high TU and Percent Resolved Level 1 Capable. Just having a high TU doesn’t automatically mean high efficiency, it simply means the agents are kept busy, but they may not be used as efficiently and effectively as possible. You also need to know that they are not resolving issues that could have been handled with an effective self service center or automated email response with suggested steps to take or knowledgebase articles to refer to.

I’m sure you have heard the old maxim: If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

To that I add: Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. If you are not keeping track of how you have done in the past, then you have nothing to compare your new process to except anecdotally. If you see that your FCR rate is now 75%, is it any better than before you tweaked the process? How will you know?

Metrics are important. But too many or too few are unhelpful. It needs to be just right.

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